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Guardiola discusses being drawn against Atletico and his differing style to Simeone

Pep Guardiola has discussed the Champions League quarter-final draw with Manchester City set to face Atletico Madrid in the last eight.

City will face the Spanish champions in the quarter-finals after Friday’s draw, with Atletico set to visit Manchester for the second successive round after eliminating Manchester United in the last-16.

 

Guardiola was impressed with Atletico’s performance across the two legs and says he is expecting a difficult challenge as the Champions League reaches its latter stages.

“They went through an incredibly tough group stage and in the games against United over 180 minutes they were better – the game in Madrid they had a fantastic first half. It is a team, they are what they are,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s FA Cup quarter-final with Southampton.

“They are able to avoid who you are, their biggest quality, for the way you play you try to impose your game but it’s difficult. Second leg away (makes it) more complicated. But the best eight teams in Europe, all are difficult.”

Guardiola discussed Diego Simeone and his reign at Atletico Madrid, with the Spanish side having come to symbolise the characteristics of the Argentine cross his 11-year spell at the club.

Simeone has led Atletico to a successful modern era, winning two La Liga titles, two Europa League trophies and twice reaching the Champions League final.

“When this happens you have an incredible achievement as a club, institution,” Guardiola said.

“That club, Simeone won’t be sacked, all the players know who is the manager. If it doesn’t work, no manager can sustain a team like Atletico. He will be replaced but everybody knows what is their path and what they have to do. They are incredibly consistent in the last year.”

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The clash between Guardiola and Simeone will see two managers with wildly contrasting styles go head-to-head. Guardiola’s side are often associated with a dominance of possession and attacking football, whilst Simeone’s success has been built on a resolute defence and dogged approach.

Guardiola discussed the differences ahead of their Champions League meeting and says both coaches share a similarity in playing ‘to win’.

“I don’t understand his matches because I wasn’t in his training. If he likes to not concede goals, I like more than him.

“If he wants to win games, I like more. I like counter-attacks more than him. I like a lot of things, would like to do what they are able to do. All teams concede few goals, few chances.

“We try to do it with the ball, they are sometimes a bit deeper. The first 15 to 20 minutes against United, United couldn’t breathe. After they used their quality.

“The second leg they (Atletico) defended but with Griezmann, Carrasco, Felix, Lodi, Llorente, Koke they can use the counter-attack, they are doing that for many years. They reached the final of the Champions League (in 2016), and for one moment didn’t win it.

“I’m not saying there is a comparison, they play to win and we do. We try, knowing it will be difficult to impose our game against them. We have to be clever, we know they will have it, have the chances to score.”

Read – Weekend preview: Premier League and FA Cup talking points

Read Also – UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw

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